Sometimes in unguarded moments the Obamas have said revealing things that later needed to be explained away—the president’s “bitter clingers” remark and Mrs. Obama’s being proud of her country “for the first time in my adult life” spring to mind.
The president seems to be making more of these bloopers as the pressure of running for re-election on his record gets to him. Speaking at a fundraising event with New York millionaires and billionaires the other day, he said this:
Our kids are going to be fine...And I always tell Malia and Sasha, look, you guys, I don’t worry about you . . . they’re on a path that is going to be successful, even if the country as a whole is not successful. But that’s not our vision of America. I don’t want an America where my kids are living behind walls and gates, and can’t feel a part of a country that is giving everybody a shot.
Where to begin? This remark is fascinating on so many levels. First and foremost, it reveals what the president of the United States thinks of the character of the country he leads. Unless his policies are enacted, he foresees an elite cowering behind gates, presumably afraid of the mobs outside, driven to crime by high unemployment. (I’ll refrain from any comparisons with Occupy Wall Street.)
This is not a shining city on a hill. This is a cesspool with enclaves of privilege. The Americans in this vision have very little in common with the hearty Americans who have risen to challenges time and again, from the Revolution, through the Civil War, the Depression and modern wars, some won, some not, but always finding it within to preserve a national character built on decency and a belief in hard work.
It is interesting to note that, while it took Ted Kennedy to concoct a scary and false version of “Robert Bork’s America,” Barack Obama needed no help in drawing an ugly picture of where he believes the country is heading. He has told us in his own words of his daughters' potential future, holed up behind walls, too frightened to venture out alone on bike trails to shop at Whole Foods. My fellow Americans, we are a scary lot.
In Barack Obama's America, there is only one way to avert this horror: adopting his policies. Leaving behind for a moment the supreme egotism of this claim, consider the supreme egotism of believing his children will do better than other people's children. Why will the Obama daughters and the children of the very rich in New York succeed, even if the United States turns into one big Hogarth sketch?